Six Bollywood Movies to See Before Visiting India

by Akhil Kalepu

Dec 8, 2015

© Ryan | Flickr

Destination

They’re long, overacted and not particularly realistic, but Bollywood films might be one of the most colorful aspects of Indian culture. Here are six modern classics to get a taste of masala cinema.

 

 

Barfi!

Released: 2012

Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D’Cruz

Set in 1970s India, Barfi! follows Murphy Johnson (Kapoor), a deaf-mute with a sweet and charming spirit. Searching for his kidnapped love (Chopra), Barfi gets help from an old flame (D’Cruz) who still has feelings for him.

 

 

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Released: 2011

Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar

Translating to “you won’t get another life,” this coming-of-age drama is about three inseparable friends on a bachelor party in Spain. Watching the years slip away, the buddies decide to make this trip one to remember before moving on to the next stage in their lives.

 

 

Swades

Released: 2004

Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Kishori Balal

This bona-fide modern classic stars Shah Rukh Khan as a NASA project manager who must return to his homeland after the death of his parents. Taking place in a rural village, Swades examines the contrast of development and globalization with traditional life in India.

 

 

Satya

Released: 1998

Starring: J.D. Chakravarthy, Manoj Bajpai, Urmila Matondkar, Shefali Shah

A surprise hit, Satya was produced with just 20 million rupees, yet pioneered the genre of Mumbai noir, depicting the darker side of Bollywood through India’s criminal underworld.

 

 

Lagaan

Released: 2001

Starring: Aamir Khan, Gracy Sigh, Rachel Shelley

Set during the height of the British Raj in the late 1800s, this Oscar nominee depicts a small village in Gujurat, unable to pay their high taxes due to a drought. The ruling British challenge the village to a then-foreign game of cricket, wagering three years of lagaan for the victor.

 

 

Om Shanti Om

Released: 2007

Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone

Several films have tried to depict the Indian film industry, but none were as good as Om Shanti Om, a star-studded Bollywood spectacle with more than 40 cameos by the country’s biggest actors.

 

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